What Makes Starbucks an Expert on Race? Does green power make experts of everyone? #racetogether #diversity

Starbucks Annual Meet_Smit-2Starbucks can take another step in eliminating racism by learning how to facilitate equality from the grounds up. We can talk about race when we know some basics about another person’s experiences, especially when people of different races are talking to each other. Talking about race is a good idea; people who have done it with a wide variety of people have a lot of experience to share with those waiting in line or serving $4 cups of coffee. Being the CEO of a corporation who held employee meetings is only a first step to understanding more work needs to be done beyond tweeting that “the only race is the human race”. The company should have also looked at itself: for example, how it raises property values more than 90% when a store opens. What about the fact no Starbucks exist where low-income people live? Conversing with itself makes Starbucks part of the solution. I see one good in this initiative is having white people realize there is still a race problem.

Having a white barista talk with a women of color about race as the coffee cools is insulting to both of them because there is no common ground. The only racial diversity at Starbucks is at the counter serving coffee; the executives are white males who have little life experience to share dealing with race in the USA.

An expert is someone who has listened to and respected a variety of ideas and feelings about a topic. Disdain for experts is endemic among corporations who identify power with money. Power also comes from investing in social justice. Let’s hope Starbucks regroups and gets ready for this conversation by bringing in advocates who know what they’re doing.

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